SWOV Catalogus


Assessing the use of navigation systems in the trucking industry. Phase 1: driver and carrier survey analyses.
20130780 ST [electronic version only]
Park, L. & Fender, K.
Arlington, VA, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), 2013, IV + 40 p., ref.

Samenvatting There is a dearth of information and understanding on the role and scope of navigation system use in large trucks. Furthermore, the relationship between “nav” system use and safety is unclear; both in terms of safety benefits and consequences. Anecdotal evidence suggests that using nav systems that are not specifically designed for large truck operations has a detrimental impact on safety. Recent media attention and industry concerns were the motivating factors for the selection of this topic in 2011 as a Top Priority by the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI’s) Research Advisory Committee (RAC). As the result of this recommendation, ATRI commenced an examination of the use of nav systems by the trucking industry and what causal role those systems may have played in large truck safety events. Given that little crash data exists that directly ties large truck crashes to nav system usage, ATRI researchers explored alternative methodologies for investigating this important safety issue. The two new approaches will 1) assess nav system us age in the industry, and 2) attempt to identify the technical basis for nav system failures and inadequacies from a truck operations perspective. In this first phase of the research, ATRI collected and analysed a large survey data sample on nav system usage, including perceived utility, and associated benefits and risks for truck drivers who use nav systems. Furthermore, this study identified the key priorities that nav system providers should address in order to meet the needs of the trucking industry. The ATRI research team collected data from over 800 professional truck drivers and motor carrier executives through online and in-person surveys. ATRI’s surveys assessed stakeholders’ utilization of nav systems as well as user perceptions associated with the systems. The survey was designed to generate quantitative analyses using multiple-choice questions, though a small portion of open-ended questions were included to capture more explicit commentary. In total, there were 677 driver survey respondents and 169 carrier survey respondents. Overall results indicate high levels of use and trust in nav system technology by industry stakeholders, especially among new drivers and large carriers. According to the carrier respondents, 51 percent allowed or encouraged their drivers to use nav systems. Furthermore, 51 percent of carriers supplied nav systems in their fleets. According to the driver respondents, 88 percent of their carrier employers allowed or encouraged nav system use. The increased popularity and use of nav systems in the trucking industry have resulted in new nav system-related safety concerns. These concerns primarily center on truck driver use of nav systems that are principally designed for passenger vehicles, which may result in a truck driver following directions and routes that are inappropriate for large trucks. The majority of driver respondents (54%) who used a nav system used one specifically designed for commercial trucks. However, nearly one-third (31%) used a car-oriented nav system. Stand-alone nav units were the most commonly used nav systems according to both driver and carrier respondents. Numerous news articles provide anecdotal support for the proposition that nav systems may have been a contributing, or even primary, factor in many large truck crashes. According to ATRI survey respondents however, these crashes may occur at a negligible rate. Only two percent of driver respondents indicated that, at some point in their career, they had been involved in a crash that they believe was caused by directions or information provided by a nav system. Responses from carriers imply a similarly low rate. In a two-part question, carriers were asked 1) how many crashes their drivers reported as being the result of a nav system error and 2) how many crashes they, the carrier, believed were due to nav system errors. According to the carriers, an average of four nav system-related crashes were reported per year for their entire fleet. However, carriers believed that, on average, only two of the four reported crashes were actually the result of nav system use. This Phase 1 research provides an overview of the current environment of nav system use in the trucking industry, including system type and scope of use, as well as the levels of trust associated with the efficacy of navigation technologies. ATRI anticipates conducting a Phase 2 analysis that will collect and compare quantitative data on nav system-generated routes with known global positioning system- (GPS-) based truck routes and restrictions. (Author/publisher)
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